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Piers Sellers is currently Deputy Director of the Sciences and Exploration Directorate and Acting Director of the Earth Sciences Division at NASA/GSFC.
He was born and educated in the United Kingdom and moved to the U.S. in 1982 to carry out climate research at NASA/GSFC. From 1982 to 1996, he worked on global climate problems, particularly those involving interactions between the biosphere and the atmosphere, and was involved in constructing computer models of the global climate system, satellite data interpretation and conducting large-scale field experiments in the USA, Canada, Africa, and Brazil.
I used to be an astronaut, a spacewalker on the International Space Station. Naturally, most of my fifteen-year crew career was spent on the ground, working with engineers to get the Station built and fully crewed for scientific research, but the day-in, day-out flow of this ground work was punctuated by the occasional illuminating, even eye-shattering experience, when I was launched into orbit and saw Earth through my spacesuit visor.
Are we humans the cause of these changes? The answer is an emphatic yes. Many climate-research groups around the world have calculated the various contributions to climate change, including those not related to humans, like volcanic ash. It has been shown repeatedly that it is just not possible to explain the recent warming without factoring in the rise in anthropogenic greenhouse gases. If you left the increase in carbon dioxide out of your calculations, you would see a wobbly but, on average, level temperature trend from the eighteen-nineties to today. But the record—the reality—shows a steeply rising temperature curve which closely matches the observed rise in carbon dioxide. The global community of climate scientists, endorsed by their respective National Academies of Science or equivalents, is solid in attributing the warming to fossil-fuel emissions. Humans are the cause of the accelerating warming. You can bet your life—or, more accurately, your descendants’ lives—on it.
As a scientist, I would like to think that the political discussion of climate change and how to mitigate its worst effects would be sober and fact-based. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Climate-change deniers in the United States have done a first-class job in spreading confusion and misinformation. As a result, many prominent politicians insist, and get away with insisting, that climate change is a hoax, a mantra that has gained some credibility through sheer repetition.
The science behind the predictions made by these climate models is not always easy to explain, and this prompted me to think more about how scientists communicate what we know to the wider community. When we talk about why the climate has changed, and what the future climate is likely to be, scientists use analyses and predictions that rest heavily on results from computer models, which in turn rest on layers and layers of theory. And there’s the rub—a lot of the confusion about what is known and unknown about the changing climate can be traced to people’s understanding of the role of theory in science.
Fundamentally, a theory in science is not just a whim or an opinion; it is a logical construct of how we think something works, generally agreed upon by scientists and always in agreement with the available observations. A good example is Isaac Newton’s theory of gravitation, which says that every physical object in the universe exerts a gravity force field around itself, with the strength of that field depending on its mass.
NOAA and NASA data reveal the Earth’s temperature reached its highest point in 136 years of record-keeping during July.
“July 2016 was absolutely the hottest month since the instrumental records began,” tweeted Gavin Schmidt, who directs NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, which is responsible for temperature measurements.
It was the 15th straight month of recording-breaking temperatures in NOAA’s analysis and 10th-straight in NASA’s, passing the previous hottest Julys by substantial margins.
Warming and cooling of a planet is normal throughout its planetary life.
Probably with carbon taxes and politics.
originally posted by: projectvxn
a reply to: Elementalist
Probably with carbon taxes and politics.
Isn't this the real problem?
I'm a pretty conservative dude. But I am also an advocate for sound science. The warming the planet is seeing is NOT normal. Not one climatologist has sad that the Earth does NOT go through natural warming and cooling cycles.
But one thing did change in all of that time. Humans began burning fuels. The evidence shown for the last 150 years demonstrates larger increases in both the release of greenhouse gases and increases in mean global temperature in tandem.
The political idiocy with regard to how to deal with it, to me, is the infuriating part. One side wants to set up an oppressive global tax scheme, and the other side wants to ignore the problem. Neither approach will have any impact at all.
This is a scientific problem with scientific solutions. Technological development, alternative energy sources, investment in advanced energy production and storage technology and techniques.
I live in Nevada. In this state the republican and democrat establishment worked together to basically kill solar energy on behalf of our state energy monopoly NVEnergy. They own the Public Utilities Commission, they own the legislature, and they managed to single handedly cripple solar power generation in the god damned desert. THE DESERT. With 360 days of sunshine on average.
Anthropogenic climate change is very real, all the evidence shows it, and to dismiss it as a warming cycle natural to the Earth is to ignore all of that evidence the proves we are contributing greatly. You're ignoring the fact that we know what the mechanism for the greenhouse effect is. You're ignoring the fact that there is a substantial evidence for CO2 released by us being the culprit, as we have observed on Venus. We also have a lot of water vapor and if Earth continues to warm more water vapor, underground and underwater methane will increase to contribute even more.
Something like this could make whole region of our planet uninhabitable. The only way to address this is to let our scientists and engineers do their jobs. About the only thing I want the government to do is substantially increase scientific research funding. That doesn't require more taxes. But it will require cuts. Gotta do that anyway since we're in debt up to our eyeballs. Restructure finances to increase funding for strategic scientific endeavors(which this is), cut government spending, and let science work to achieve some possible solutions.
One such possible solution is the use of certain kinds of aerosols to reduce the global mean temperature over a given period of time while humanity figures out its fossil fuel energy problem. There is no magic bullet to this. Burying our heads in the sand about it won't help. Science denialism will kill us if we continue to embrace it. Like I said in my last post, between climate change denialism, anti-vaccination/fake homeopathic medicine, and anti-GMOs, we are letting people die preventable deaths already. We can be doing better, but you want to stand with a crowd that has no evidence for their position. That is regressive.
One side wants to set up an oppressive global tax scheme, and the other side wants to ignore the problem.
I'll throw my lot in with the deniers in order to prevent carbon taxes.
originally posted by: Elementalist
You nor modern science does not understand what is normal in cycles that have been Ongoing before your observations and measurements for millions and millions of years.
We have been observing fractions. That is no tell, that this -rate- is abnormal, it may just be normal. Unless you use tiny fractions as evidence.
For instance, the ice age happened pretty quickly, almost like a flash freeze. Look at Antarctica, it may of flash froze over in years for all we know.
We have excavated things out of ice that seem to have frozen just happened over night so to speak.
It's a panic because in our little lifetime, it seems like a large impact. Yet to the cycle of earth, it's just a pattern, or possibly natural clockwork.
The humans little life compared to the ongoing patterns of a planetary complex and all life it supports, is a tiny fraction.
That which has been observed and measured, hundreds of years, are nothing in comparison to thousands or millions.
Yet life is here, and still flourishes, man has "evolved".
All that other garble you threw in your post, I don't even know what your going on about. But don't be painting me with a brush....
Where in this post is the proof that carbon dioxide isn't opaque to various bands of radiation?